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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Oct 30, 2010 3:51am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

I understand about the taping and Bear but as you point out they eventually came around to this and embraced it and that period is still occupies nearly 20 years of their career and was still way ahead of anyone else. Look at all the bands at the LMA who allow taping? Many of these bands actually have links from their own websites to shows at the LMA that can be downloaded. You don't think that any of this was influenced by what the Grateful Dead were doing in for much of their career?

I also think there were other decisions that they made that influenced their "brand loyalty". What about setting up their own ticket distribution system? What about the constant touring? Again I haven't read the book so i don't know if these issues are touched upon, but I think there were other decisions that not only helped build the fan base but maintained it. Even if they stumbled into some of it, they ultimately figured it out and why can't other businesses benefit from what ended up being their model?

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Oct 30, 2010 4:31am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

They can, that all makes sense, I think some people are just disputing whether they did all that deliberately; it seems clearly not. It was something that just evolved haphazardly, it wasn't a "business model" per se at least until fairly late in the game. No question they influenced the music business scene!

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Oct 30, 2010 5:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

Based on this I have come to the conclusion that i have no idea what the words "business model" mean. Are these things set in stone or are they allowed to evolve? Can't the model be created in real time and then be used as a model for others? Glad i never got a real job.

I think people can learn based on what the grateful dead did, so to me it is a model and I see no problem with applying current jargon to what they did as a means to describe that model. It seems to me that this was AR's beef. I am not sure it matters whether they did this haphazardly, with a set plan from the start or it was something that evolved over time. That only becomes important if someone is writing a history book. I don't think that is what this is.

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Oct 30, 2010 5:16am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

Fair points, they didn't use it as a "business model" per se in my understanding of the term, but other people can. Sure why not?

I just think at the end of the day it isn't going to work for other people unless they have a product akin to the Dead's, i.e., a "product" that produces bliss.

It's much more usefully studied as a religion than as a business model, IMO!! It's basically a cult.

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Oct 30, 2010 6:40am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

Yeah, my first reaction is if you have a really good product that people are passionate about you don't need a plan. I also wonder how informative it is to follow the "plan" of someone who was successful with a really good product. I think it would be far more interesting and inspiring to see the business model of the folks who made money off of chia pets, pet rocks and mood rings. I must go now as my Chia dog's mood ring is black, i better give it some water....

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Oct 30, 2010 7:02am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

>I see no problem with applying current jargon to what they did as a means to describe that model.

I don't understand science very well, so it might help me to think of white blood cells as little Pac Men eating up the invaders. But of course, that's ultimately trite and inaccurate.

Same with using current jargon to describe what was done in the past. If it helps understanding, well, that's OK on a Science for Dummies level, or for a children's book. Yes, of course, I'm sure there are useful lessons to be had for MBA students in the history of the GD's "business practices." And maybe I should find it affirming that someone noticed. But since I do happen to have rather a passion for historical accuracy and an instinctive dislike of triteness, it just makes me queezy.

Maybe I should just think of that book -- and the "branding" craze in general -- as a kind of literary / cultural chia pet. Then maybe it wouldn't turn my mood ring black :-)




This post was modified by AltheaRose on 2010-10-30 14:02:56

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Poster: Old_NJ_Head_Zimmer Date: Oct 30, 2010 5:16am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

And don't forget the great idea about selling albums out of Ice Cream trucks outside shows.

I would not follow the GD business sense anywhere.

My 2 cents - a lot of what worked out for them in the end was just not being able to say NO to anyone.

As more and more pressure from tapers came on - they just let it happen.

In other words - they just got lucky

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Oct 30, 2010 9:05am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

You defend your point well; I just have a hard time seeing the Dead as a business model in any way.
Yes, they successfully built a relationship with their fans, and their music (or "product") was addictively fantastic (sometimes, anyway). Their attempt to establish a more 'personalized' fanbase (with the newsletter, ticket mail-orders & such) is something other businesses would probably stumble on anyway, without the Dead's example.

But I see them, in large part, as a band created by their fans. For at least the last 10-15 years of their career, all the band had to do was show up. The fans did the rest.

Many of the band's 'policies' were slowly & accidentally arrived at, and were incidental to their success. They built a 'loyal audience' under conditions created by that audience, in spite of anything the Dead could do to hinder that process and stop the downhill slide to success.

Let's see, they created a cycle of events where fans could get blasted on drugs (frequently getting arrested) and partipate in night-long dance orgies, while listening to often awful music. Great business model, anyone can copy it!

Their lead guitarist was a helpless addict who spent much of his career on the verge of death, and refused to make any decisions on band policy. In fact he even stopped speaking onstage, for fear fans would take him seriously.
Good business model?

Their first five years were spent basically bankrupt, living hand-to-mouth, deeply in debt to the record label. They barely bothered with national tours, and scorned the idea of making money or becoming a "success" or selling albums. (Great example for any company!) They thought it would be hilarious to call an album Skullfuck.
Good business model?

Of course, later on they changed their ways and became more 'mainstream' in their album production. Oh, but in their last 15 years, they only managed to put out 2 studio albums because the process was just too difficult for them. And most fans agreed the albums sucked anyway. (Many believed the shows sucked, too.) So the band was forced to tour constantly, more than they wanted to, in places they didn't want to play in, because they had no albums to sell.
Good business model?

And then, another reason for the constant tours after '76 was their constantly swelling road crew (or "employees"), who were regarded as 'family' and were so well-treated (and well-paid), the band considered it too cruel to slow down the tours for a while for rest & rehearsals, as it was more important to keep the money coming in to pay everyone.
Great business model!

Oh, but then there was that one hiatus in '75, which came about because the band sunk all their spiraling funds into an ever-growing sound system that eventually lost them money because it was too expensive to be carried around by the crew of snarling roadies high on mountains of cocaine. It looked cool, though.
Good business model?

And of course, once they got out of the early days when their 'managers' were either fellow druggies or thieves, and started following more conventional plans, they still believed in the idea of 'group meetings' to decide on any policy, whereby family members, soundcrew & roadies, and cool friends would have equal say in any decision. (It would, after all, be too fascist for the band-leaders to actually tell anyone to do anything.) The band would go along with whatever sounded neat.
Good business model?

And let's not forget, the band was derided & ridiculed in most of the media as antique drug-ridden relics, completely out of step with the times. Their fans (or "consumer base") were widely hated & despised as wandering unkempt vagrants; many towns even banned Dead shows to keep the fans away!
Good business model?

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Poster: leftwinger57 Date: Oct 31, 2010 7:30am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

TO LIA, Your post for the most part was spot on. I'd have to say it all begins and ends w/management. I mean loyal but intelligent legal types who can read and disect contracts and all the riders and minutiae that goes w/ it.
Bear should have been given his walking papers so much earlier. Yes he knew some audio -electronics but he was a chemist. The whole idea that you put 6 band members together and then they have make choices of who stays on , no the band's only concern was to turn out the best music period.Look at another example, Pink Floyd had the same growing pains w/a major member being replaced and their sound changeing all the time. But they invested wisely and
started to mold their own monstrous sound system to be a profitable model. Yes the Dead had a booking agency, travel
agency and their own record co. for awhile. none of this
really came together effectively and suffered dearly for it.The WOS went and was pared down Round Records never turned a profit and then you still have 6 guys decideing
who they should fire.No band should ever be put in the position to do that. In the end though I always heard that the Dead was the Highest grossing touring band for consecutive years beating the Stones and U-2.So where did all this cash go?Crew, teamsters, lighting,venues, agents and managers there's still plenty to go around if done correctly.It all starts w/ management and production...

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Poster: pequastogy Date: Oct 31, 2010 6:17am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

Oh, but in their last 15 years, they only managed to put out 2 studio albums because the process was just too difficult for them. And most fans agreed the albums sucked anyway. (Many believed the shows sucked, too.) So the band was forced to tour constantly, more than they wanted to, in places they didn't want to play in, because they had no albums to sell....

As a proud member of the bus, first trip 1982, I wholeheartedly disagree with this statement...two of the finest ballads they wrote came from these albums--standing on the moon and black muddy river--ill throw in touch of grey and west la fadeaway for good measure as two fine songs. And as difficult as it is for the 80's haters to stomach, Just a Little Light ( A Brent song egads!!) The shows, as i remember them, were all sold out. everybody was dancing. They continued to tour not because they had no albums to sell but because they had an enormous group of employees that they felt responsible for and, probably, they didn't know what else to

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Oct 30, 2010 1:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

You have me rolling, this post is hysterical. You have quite summed up the matter.

I would only add, or edit I suppose, your post thus:
It's that "addictively fantastic" part that explains everything else, or explains how it is even remotely possible that despite the other small factors you mention, everything from being completely wasted 85% of the time to the "consumer base" being sometimes literally banned from public places ... that things have nonetheless progressed as they did to where in 2010 they're lauded for having a freakin' "business model."

Come on folks, they were hippies, they didn't have no business model!

This post was modified by ringolevio on 2010-10-30 20:48:50

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Oct 30, 2010 1:53pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

A stronger case could be made that the case of the Grateful Dead shows the value in completely avoiding any business plan at all. The whole thing is really hilarious.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Oct 30, 2010 3:07pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

Absolutely hysterical!!! I will definitely buy your book on this topic.